On a sunny, wind-swept December morning, Virgin America kicked off a day of festivities along the otherwise unfestive runways of Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Four longhorn cattle lolled in a pen while dignitaries such as Dallas Mayor Tom Leppert lunched on pulled pork and ribs, and lasso artists twirled rope. The main attraction was the host, 60-year-old Sir Richard Branson, billionaire bon vivant and founder of the Virgin Group. While he was at the center of the celebration, he was also making an incursion into enemy territory.
Virgin America Inc., the carrier partly owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, won the right to sublease two gates at Dallas Love Field, beating out larger rival Southwest Airlines Co. at its home airport.
Virgin America Inc., the discount carrier partly owned by U.K. billionaire Richard Branson, wants to step up competition with American Airlines Group Inc. and Southwest Airlines Co. on their home turf in Texas.